Wednesday, May 27, 2009

U Gambira transferred to Kalay prison

by Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Buddhist monk Ashin Gambira who staged a protest in prison and demanded a meeting with military junta supremo Snr. Gen. Than Shwe was said to have been transferred to Kalay prison.

Gambira recently staged a protest by shouting and demanding a face-to-face meeting with Snr. Gen. Than Shwe. Following this show of defiance he was transferred to Kalaymyo prison from Khamti prison in Sagaing Division.

“Yesterday my mom called me and said that he was transferred to Kalay as told by her friends. But we still don’t know when he was shifted. We heard that he was moved due to his poor health,” his elder sister Khin Thu Htay told Mizzima.

The authorities tried him in Kyimyindine court in Insein prison for leading the 2007 Saffron Revolution. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison in three cases on November 19 last year. He was also charged with insulting the religion and committing crime against public tranquility.

He was later sentenced to an additional 56 years in prison in nine cases in Kamayut Township court and another four cases in Ahlone Township court. So his total prison term is now 68 years.

He was arrested in Singai Township, Mandalay Division on 4 November 2007 when he was on the run following a manhunt by the authorities.

Politically active Ashin Gambira became a leading monk of ‘All Burma Monks Alliance’ (ABMA) in the nationwide monk-led protests popularly known as ‘Saffron Revolution’ in September 2007 while he was pursuing his religious studies of ‘Dhamasariya’ at the age of 29.

He suffered from brain and neurological diseases while he was being held in Insein prison.

Though his mother Daw Yay was planning to visit his elder brother Aung Kayw Kyaw who is serving 14 years in Taungyi prison in Shan State, she changed her mind to meet Ashin Gambira in Kalay prison instead this week because of his poor health.

“My mom said that she would go there within a week and she would prepare food for him. Khamti is cold and he had asthma when he was young. We spent a lot of time and money to cure the disease. I think now this old disease has resurfaced. She would go to Uzin (monk) first,” Khin Thu Htay said.

Other family members who are serving in different prisons are in good health, she added. They are her younger brother Aung Ko Ko Lwin in Kyaukphyu prison in Rakhin State and her husband Moe Htet Lian in Mawlamyine prison in Mon State.

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